It’s time to load that Android-powered slab of glass and circuitry up with a heaping helping of download-worthy apps.
Of course, it’s downright impossible to individually tickle everyone’s fancy, but there’s a little something for everyone here, from tools to time-wasters. We've focused on helping you get things done, live more efficiently, and unwind once it's time to cut loose.
Teach Your Phone New Tricks
Make your smartphone smarter (and more self-reliant) with Automate. The app lets you string series of events together based on your location, battery life, data usage, and hundreds of other conditions. Use your Wi-Fi connection only when you’re at home, take photos of nosy colleagues trying to bypass your lock code, open a specific app when you plug your headphones in, and much more.
Got an old Android phone sitting in a drawer? Alfred turns it into a remote security camera. Just tie your two phones together with your Google account, set the old phone up in your house somewhere, and use your current phone to tap into it whenever you want to keep an eye on things from afar.
Beam Your Coordinates
Try Glympse if you need to share your location with someone for only a brief window of time—say, if you’re meeting friends for dinner or you’re at a big concert with a group of people. You can even share your location with people who don’t have Glympse installed, and you can send notes to your temporary followers from right within the app.
You have a bunch of go-to apps and contacts, but they might be spread out across several sections of your phone. Omni Swipe sits down in the lower-left corner of your screen, and with the quick flick of your thumb exposes frequent contacts, favorite apps, and oft-used tools.
Play Hard To Get
Truecaller acts as a 21st-century caller ID system, helping you dodge unknown numbers by showing you who’s calling. It takes things a step further by letting you block unwanted callers completely, and works well for quickly adding callers to your contacts list if you’re actually interested in speaking with them.
If you know you want to listen to something but you don’t want to mess around with playlists or song downloads, try AccuRadio. Pull up one of more than 1,000 channels or craft your own. The app features unlimited skips, lets you block certain artists, and will learn which artists you like best the more you use it.
TV Guide For The Streaming Era
With so many options for gorging on movies and TV shows nowadays, sometimes it’s hard to find where certain content is actually available. Fan TV makes short work of that problem by scouring more than 40 streaming services to let you know where your favorites are playing, and alerting you when something becomes available on one of your platforms.
Library in Your Pocket
Thanks to OverDrive, you can borrow books from your local library with almost zero effort. There are 30,000-plus libraries on board, and the service extends far beyond e-books to include audiobooks, movies, and TV shows. Best of all, there are no late fees. Your titles will get digitally "returned" once the borrowing period has expired.
King of All Podcasts
Keep up with all your favorite podcasts by using Podcast Addict. The app can automatically download your most recent episodes, and if you’re looking for something new to listen to, its built-in search engine features hundreds of thousands of other podcasts from around the world.
Sling videos, music, and pictures from your computer to your smartphone with Kodi. Setting it up can be a bit tricky if you’re not super savvy, but there’s a helpful community and a whole bunch of third-party plugins to extend the experience once you’re up and running. If you’ve got a digital treasure trove on a big-boy computer somewhere, Kodi is a great way to stuff it all in your pocket.
Wake Up, You Sleepyhead
If you just can’t seem to get out of bed in the morning, Alarmy will annoy you awake. You can set the app to force you to take a photo of something in your house, complete math problems, or shake your phone vigorously. You’ll hate it so much that you won’t be able to fall back asleep.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Guess what? You don’t drink enough water each day. Water Drink Reminder does pretty much what you’d think it would do: It reminds you to stay hydrated. You tell the app your target daily intake in ounces, and it’ll send you periodic alerts. Each time you guzzle some H2O, note it in the app and check out your intake chart to make sure you’re on the right path.
Mind Your Money
If you’re like most people, you’ve got more than a few financial accounts scattered here and there. BillGuard ties them all together, showing you how much money you have (or how much you owe), alerts you to potential fraud, and helps you seek merchant refunds directly. There’s free credit score tracking as well.
Loyalty Without The Bulk
Avoid Costanza Wallet with Stocard. The app houses your unruly collection of loyalty cards, thinning out your wallet and lightening your keychain. Most big-name retailers are supported out of the gate, and you can add obscure cards by using your phone’s camera to digitize them.
Chow Down . . . Or Don't
Do you live to eat or do you eat to live? No matter the case, YouFood is a vibrant community of people you can lean on for meal ideas, weight-loss support, and more. If you’re not feeling overly social, the app works great on its own for ideas, or you can set up private sharing between your family members instead.
Social Networking, Strategized
If keeping your social media profiles up to date seems like work, try Buffer. The app lets you schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google, then see which of your updates have caused meaningful buzz. Pump streams of content into your own custom feed in order to easily opine as you see fit.
Conference Calls Without Tears
Dial-in meetings are the worst, right? The PIN codes, the pound signs, the tediously long call-in numbers. MobileDay automates it all, offering up one-touch access to your phoners. It syncs with your Android calendar, lets you message attendees to tell them if you’re running late, and features human-validated call-in sequences for popular conferencing platforms.
File Transport Specialist
Try Send Anywhere to send large files to people with minimal fuss. You simply select the files you want to send, and your recipients get random six-digit codes to initiate the downloads on their end. Codes expire in 10 minutes, with no need for your recipients to set up their own accounts.
Map Out Your Life
Like it or not, your life is probably based on a series of routines. Use TimeTune to keep yourself on schedule by plotting out daily, weekly, or custom routines. Remind yourself to leave for work at a certain time, force yourself to get more sleep, and view stats about which activities are taking up the bulk of your day.
Your Tasks, Everywhere
Nothing stymies an otherwise great to-do list like overcomplicating it. Wunderlist keeps things simple yet elegant, with a great interface and cross-platform support between all your devices. You can share your lists with others, complete with per-item comments and file attachments as well.
Have a Ball
Color Switch is as addictive and challenging as it is simple. With each tap, a little ball rises upward through a series of colored shapes, changing colors each time it passes through a section of each shape. Make sure the ball’s current color aligns with the color of the shape it’s about to pass through, or you’re toast.
For Word Wranglers
It’s not going to win any design awards, but of the jillion crossword puzzle apps, the aptly named Crossword Puzzle wins big points for its straightforward layout and large collection of free daily puzzles from popular providers. Fun extras: See how you rank against other players, and ask friends for help with clues if you get stuck.
Get To The Other Side
Simply put, Crossy Road is pretty much today’s Frogger, but with chickens, robots, and hundreds of other possible characters. It’s got a funky-retro isometric look with catchy music and enough thoughtful twists to keep you coming back again and again for more.
Act It Out
Instead of staring at each other (or your phones) all night, try Heads Up the next time you’re with your friends. It’s a modern-day game of charades, with one person holding the phone against his or her forehead, making guesses while other players act out the on-screen clue. The app video-records players as they act out the clues—perfect for some future blackmail material if you need it.
The ultimate funny-photo destination, Imgur provides a swipe-filled collection of images shared by its community. Popular memes, stories, and pic-dumps get boosted to the front page, while the rest get down-voted to oblivion. Each offering sports a comment section as well, with the funniest and most interesting comments bubbling upward in a similar fashion.
Slideshow Credits: 01 / Photo: Flickr user Jimmy Baikovicius;